We recently had our out of state family stay with us for the week during the holidays. My kids’ cousin pretty much has free reign on her phone and tablet, and no parental settings what-so-ever are enforced. I didn’t make a big deal about this, because she’s not my child; Her parents definitely parent much differently than I do. I did try to be “cool parent” and let up a bit on the screen time limits. It was holiday, after all, and the kids were gaming together a lot on their tablets and having a good time, so mine got more time than they usually do during school.
After their cousin left, my oldest came to me and mentioned unhappily that their cousin made some comments about how we limit screen time and put a bedtime on their devices. My oldest basically implied that it’s not fair that we make their tablets shut off for bedtime (which was 11pm-6am during the break). Backstory: we’ve had several instances where if limits are off for whatever reason, my oldest will stay up all night and binge videos for hours. Even though they know they aren’t supposed to, they will sneak and use all the precious screen time they can. We’ve had several talks about why this is not healthy, sleep is good for them, etc. They simply cannot self regulate.
I suppose I am just frustrated for feeling like “the mean parent” because I make their devices shut down for bedtime. I don’t feel I even have that strict of settings in place: I approve every app they’ve ever requested, they have full browser use (with adult website filter on), really the only settings in place are no use during late night and adult website filters. I feel that’s very lenient compared to others who I’ve heard don’t allow their teens to even use Safari or the browser.
Please tell me I’m not the only one. Why is this so hard? Teens need sleep and not to be using their screens all night, right? I know they are young and not matured yet, but surely they must understand this is for their own health, right? I’m sad that because others get no supervision, use their phones all night, and get into who-knows-what inappropriate stuff that I’M the bad guy.